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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
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    Thu, Sep 27th - 8:06PM


    September 27th, 2007

    Here we are back on the original schedule of study.  We covered the first point, the sacrificer, and now we shall continue with looking at point #2.

    (2) The substitute, the Sacrifice.  This sacrifice was a substitute for the sinner:

    And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him(Leviticus 1:4).

    The Israelite slew the sacrifice at the side of the altar with his hand placed upon the head of the animal, directly identifying himself with the sacrifice.  "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4) is the unalterable law of God that transcends all dispensations, and forever abideth the unchangeable law of an unchangeable God.  Thus the whole act of sacrifice speaks of substitution.  This law expresses the character of our changeless God and because of that character He cannot compromise with sin in any form for if He did He would become a partaker in it.  And so the Israelite sinner by faith put his hand upon the animal and God accepted this arrangement, for he looked forward to the time when the Lamb of God, the Paschal Lamb, would come and take away the sin of the entire world.  God who is full of grace provided this provision until the time when the perfect substitute would be offered up.  The Creator suffering for the creation.  Who would ever think up such an extraordinary scenario! 

    So the death of Christ was substitutionary for us.  He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from the sinners all around Him:

    For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separte from sinners, and made higher than the heavens(Hebrews 7:26).

    He stood before a woman taken in adultery from whom all accusers had fled, all because He was the only one without sin.  He challenged those who knew Him, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" (See John 8:46)  When the Prince of this world comes to any one of us he usually finds something within us to use as a wedge, and we give in to temptation rather than turn and walk away from it.  Christ was the impeccable man, the man without sin, without blemish, the Lord of Glory wrapped in the clothing of perfect humanity.  Jesus Christ did not have to die.  The wages of sin is death, scripture tells us this much.  We are born into this world, we live, and then we die.  Not so with Jesus.  He came on a unique mission. Only He could say that no man takes My life from Me, but I choose to give it up of My own free will.  I have the power to give it up and to take it back again.  Check this out in John 10:18.

    Christ died, He substituted Himself for us on that cross.  He died so that we might have life and have it more abundantly!  He took our place, that He might offer us His place.  He took our Hell that we might have His heaven.  He bore the scars of the cross that we might be presented spotless before His presence with exceeding joy.  He bore our penalty willingly, lovingly.  Count it all joy, beloved! 

    For he hath make him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of god in him(II Corinthians 5:21).

    God executed sin in the Person of Jesus Christ.  That cross is the judgment of God on sin for the believer and reveals His attitude toward sin.  What grace displayed!  What overwhelming love shown!  My friends, when darkness enveloped the cross God endured all the suffering of hell.  The Judge had left the judgment seat and had come down to stand with the prisoner at the bar.  He bore the full penalty that He had just pronounced.  See it stated in this passage:

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life(John 3:16).

    No wonder Mr. Newton was inspired to write "Amazing Grace".  A man who at one time was captain of a slaver ship.  Yet once he believed in Him he became a new creation and felt compelled to express that everlasting joy now found in his heart.  This is what makes Christianity alive and vibrant!  This flood of grace and love that we find in a suffering God who took our places because He so loved us and would not allow anything to stand in the way of our redemption.  Thus we may sing:

    Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth(Revelation 5:9,10).

    Oh, what a wonderful thing to wait for and to hope for!  Promises made to us by our faithful God!  Well, we shall stop here for today my friends.  Tomorrow we shall move on to looking at the Place of Sacrifice and how it relates to us today.  Until then, grace and the Power of God be with each and everyone of you.


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    Wed, Sep 26th - 7:43PM

    God Draws Himself out a People

    September 26th, 2007

    My friends, we must take a wee detour at this point.  We need to explore how God draws out his "royal priesthood" of today.  These are the ekklesia, or called-out ones.  They are sinners without respect to race, color, sex, condition, rich, poor, Jew, nor Gentile.  All are made one in Christ.  See for yourself in the second chapter of Ephesians:

    And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh(Ephesians 2:16-17).

    This is the new relationship in Christ, realized through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit of God.  "Ye must be born again" is a commandment used of the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration of sinners.  "The Son of Man must be lifted up" is the must of the Second Person of the Godhead.  "Ye must be born again" is the must of the Third Person of the Godhead.   All a sinner can do is receive Christ as his/her personal Savior.  Accepting this must work of Christ gains for the sinner the must work of the Holy Spirit:

    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God(John 1:12-13).

    To receive Christ is the must work of the sinner, and it is imperative.  We accept Christ's work for us, the Holy Spirit does a work in us.  This simple fact is the infallible identification of a Christian:

    If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature(II Corinthians 5:17).

    For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature(Galatians 6:15).

    The new birth that brings us into the family of God not only makes us children of God, but also priests unto God.  We are born again into a priestly family.  The significance?  Only those of the tribe of Leve were priests in Israel.  It was purely a birth privilege, not a badge of merit.  Paul could never have been a priest in the Mosaic covenant; he was a member of the tribe of Benjamin.  Christ could not have been a priest under that system since He was of the tribe of Judah, a kingly tribe but not a priestly one. 

    The new birth not only brings us into the household of faith, but it also provides us with membership into a priesthood:

    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ...But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light(I Peter 2:5, 9).

    We can safely say that it was God's original intention with Israel that the whole nation should become "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:6), but the people failed miserably and so God only used one tribe out of the twelve to serve in the Tabernacle.  A remnant of His people.  Now today we can see the superiority of the church over the nation Israel in all of this.  The Christian is a believer priest today, he/she does not stop at the cross but is "in Christ in the heavenlies" in position, and is permitted to come "into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19), and this he does with boldness.  The tribe of Levi had come by the brazen altar. We have come by the blood of the Lamb and are beckoned to come to His throne of grace.

    We shall end here for now beloved.  Next time we will continue studying the second point, the Substitute.  Until then, peace, and grace be with you all.


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    Sat, Sep 22nd - 5:35PM


    September 22nd, 2007

    Dear friends, the blueprints and patterns for this Tabernacle can be found in the latter part of the Book of Exodus (chapters 25-40).  The placement of these particuluar instructions is not accidental as some people might suppose.  Exodus is a book of redemption.  The book opens with the Hebrews as slaves working in the brickyards of Pharaoh; it closes with the wonderful glory of the Tabernacle.  It tells the tale of how God rescued a group of sinful people and delivered them from need, suffering, and immense burden.  God did not do this because they were good people, moral people, or better than most.  They had no claim on God, but He responded to their crying while in bondage. 

    At Sinai the Hebrews received the opportunity to pick either of two spiritual roads to follow.  They could walk a path with the Law as their master or they could walk down the path of grace with God as their protector.  Eagles's wings or the yoke of the Law.  And they chose the Law which cannot save.  So grace had to have a pathway through which it might intrude into their lives and salvation could be obtained.  The Tabernacle was God's means of grace for a people who deliberately chose law instead of grace.

    The Law was given in three divisions: the commandments, the judgements, and the ordinances.  The commandments were given because of who and what God is.  The judgments conditioned the relationships of man toward those all around him.  The ordinances conditioned the relationships of man toward God.  Within the ordinances are tound the instructions for the Tabernacle.

    The ordinances are as much a part of the Mosaic Law as the commandments.  To have Law which leaves bare how far short of God's glory man falls without any means to correct that shortfall would be illogical.  Likewise, to have the ordinances without the Law would make no sense in and of itself.  Why would any man want to go through these motions and actions if it were to gain him nothing?  Also, it could easily be argued that of the two the ordinances are more important than the commandments.  Why?  For they provided a path of acceptance for a sinner who had broken God's commandments.  Both are needed and one cannot be preferred without the other.  The Law does not provide a basis of redemption before God by a sinner keeping the comandments, but the ordinances provide a substitutionary sacrifice in the Tabernacle.  Logically, if anyone desires to live according to the Mosaic Law today they must also construct another Tabernacle exactly like the one in the Bible. 

    We as Christians have been delivered from the Law in all of its parts.  We have been promoted to a higher plane of living.  Our standard of ethics is not lowered but is lifted to a more exalted sphere.  Christ completely fulfilled the Law.  In His life he fulfilled the commandments and the judgments; in His death He fulfilled the ordinances relating to a sacrifice for sin.  Here is what the law is here for:

    For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect (Hebrews 10:1).

     It is a shadow, a picture, a figure, of all of the good things to come once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Without the Tabernacle Judaism was a hopeless religion offered to mankind.  The Mosaic system served as one of many highway markers, all pointing the way towards Jesus Christ and to His cross upon Calvary. 

    Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

    What God demanded in the Law He now supplies freely and liberally to all who do no more than to believe in Jesus.

    Now as we finally delve into the Tabernacle itself we notice that when handing out His holy instructions He gave instructions for the furniture found within it first.  Today when we build a home/dwelling we erect the exterior structure first and then proceed to completing the interior before finally putting thought into furnishings.  But God looks at things differently than we do my friends.  The furniture in God's dwelling place was a means of approaching God.  The tent merely provided separation from the world and gave a protected place for the all important furniture. 

    There were seven articles of furniture, all of which depicted the Person and work of Christ in redemption.  There was the ark, mercy seat, altar of incense, table of shewbread, lampstand of gold, laver of brass, and the altar of brass.  Now it is also important to point out here that God gave the order of making exactly as I have written it above.  It highlights the importance of each item in God's plan for us. 

    The brazen altar was given last and actually was the very first item to be encountered when entering into the Tabernacle.  Jehovah abode in the Holy of Holies looking out to the sinner on the outside.  The sinner stood without, forever shut out of the presence of God unless Jehovah brought  him to Himself.  Is this a symptom today of our churches?  Except in reverse?  Christ not inside the churches but thrust out only to be found standing at individuals heart doors and knocking for an entrance into each life?  Here in the Tabernacle it was man who must do the knocking at the entryway for the sinner had to come to God; today God comes to the sinner.

    The blueprint for the brazen altar:

    And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height hereof shall be three cubits.  And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.  And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans:  all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.  And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof.  And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.  And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.  And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.  Hollow with boards shalt thou make it:  as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it (Exodus 27:1-8).

    The brazen altar was made of shittim, or acacia, wood overlaid with brass.  Acacia wood is a hard, durable, and close grained wood. It is strong and was used in shipbuilding in Egypt.  It grew in the wilderness through which we traveled for forty years, and it provided all of the wood for the Tabernacle.  Exactly how much a cubit was is not easily determined, however, we can say without doubt which items within the Tabernacle were shorter or taller than others.

    This first altar was overlaid with brass.  Half-way up its sides there was a grating of brass.  One and one-half cubits from the ground and from the top this grating was fastened with four brazen rings.  Two staves, long enough to pass through a pair of rings on each side, were made to carry this altar on the wilderness march through the desert.  The staves were made of wood overlaid with brass.  This altar was sometimes called the table of the Lord or the altar of burnt offering, and it stood just within the entrance of the Tabernacle:

    And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the Lord commanded Moses (Exodus 40:29).

    When the Hebrews entered the tent this object was immediately in front of them.  On this altar every sacrifice of Israel was made.  There were five offerings in the Levitical ritual, and all of them were made on this altar.  These offerings can be found here:  Lev 1:5-7, 2:8-9, 3:5, 4:10, 5:10.  Very specific instructions were provided on how to perform each of these offerings.  On the great Day of Atomement, two goats were brought in to the brazen altar and the one which was not the scapegoat was offered on the brazen altar:

    And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin-offering(Lev 16:9).

     This was the only place sacrifices could be made to atone for sins.  They were forbidden to erect altars anywhere else.  Being sinful people naturally the Israelites did erect altars elsewhere and made sacrifices to idols and other gods.  God naturally brought judgment down upon them whenever they broke His commandments.  One of the reasons given when the northern kingdom of Israel went into the Assyrian captivity was their disregard for these very statutes of God (II Kings 17:7, 9-13).

    Every lamb sacrificed during the time of the Tabernacle as a substitute for a sinner Israelite or for the nation itself was offered on this altar.  It had to happen here for the brazen altar was a picture of the cross of Christ.  Leviticus 1:9 and Ephesians 5:2 when compared have the following analogy:  Both offerings are called a "sweet savour" unto God.  The materials of construction and the purpose of the altar as compared with the accomplishments of Christ upon the cross.

    This comparison and analysis is what we shall continue with next time my friends.  Until then may God's grace be with you.


    September 25th, 2007

    The altar was of brass.  This was the main identifier material-wise.  Brass in scripture usually speaks of judgment of sin.  In illustration look to the book of Revelation.  John's first vision was that of the ascended Christ who is coming in all of His Glory some day to judge all of us:

    For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son(John 5:22).

    And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters(Revelation 1:15).

    At His first coming Christ did not come to judge.  Nevertheless, one of His titles at His second coming will be that of Judge, "the Lord, the righteous judge"(II Timothy 4:8).  This vision of John's was Jesus Christ in His Holy Glory as Judge of all Creation.  The first time He descended to earth He came as the criminal at the bar of judgment, taking our place there.  Next time He comes He comes as the Judge upon the bench in His rightful and own position.

    The brass of the altar speaks of the judgment of Christ upon the cross for the sin of the world.  The fire of the brazen altar also speaks of judgment.  Fire, associated in Scripture with the judgment of sin, is the symbol of hell itself--the ultimate place for the punishment of sin:

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev 20:10).

    Whether or not we are talking about a literal, physical fire or a spiritual fire is not our concern here.  What fire is a symbol of is judgment on sin.  The fire upon the brazen altar was never quenched and it was never to be allowed to go out: "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out" (Leviticus 6:13).  The fire burns continually for as long as there is sin there will be judgment.

    There were three phases connected with the brazen altar that set forth the teaching of it as a figure/symbol of the cross and its efficacious work.  They were relative to the altar and its service.  As follows:  (1) The one making the sacrifice, the sacrificer. (2) The substitute, the sacrifice. (3) The Altar, the place of sacrifice.  We will now look at these in exactly that order.

    (1) The One Making the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer.  The Israelite standing on the outside of the Tabenacle, who was a sinner, was forever shut out from the presence of God.  He brought his sacrifice to the entryway of the Tabernacle, and there at the altar of brass he slew it at the side of the altar:

    Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.  If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.  And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.  And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood around about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation(Leviticus 1:2-5).

    The Israelite could go no further than the side of the brazen altar.  There he must stop and offer his sacrifice, the animal substituted for him.  The blood of the slain animal covered his sins for a time and made him a forgiven sinner temporarily.  Now notice, this did not give him the right to go into God's presence.  From here on he went into the presence of the Living God in the person of the priesthood.  The nation only entered into the Holy of Holies once per year in the person of the high priest who took in blood for the sins of the entire people.  From the brazen altar there was not only substitution in the sacrifice itself but in the personnel of those laboring in sevice and worship.  This arrangement prevented any notion that there was finality in the Tabernacle services.  Both the sacrifice and the sacrificer substituted for the sinner.

    We will stop here my friends.  Join me tomorrow as we will explore how we become members of the priesthood of today.  Until then, may God's Holy Spirit flow through you and out into the lives of those around you each and every day.  May you live out your faith boldly and confidently!


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    Tue, Sep 18th - 6:55AM

    September 18th, 2007


    Beloved, before we begin studying the details of the Tabernacle we should consider some general items that revolve around it. First of all, we need to consider that this story began back in the beginning of mankind in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve broke fellowship with God by being disobedient.  It continued with their children's sacrifices either being acceptable or not in the sight of God so that they could commune with God.  On and on throughout scripture God has provided a way, and the means, for man to approach God so that they could fellowship, even if for only a very short time.  Sinful men do not want God to dwell with them.  How mistaken is the modern but ages-old notion that man is seeking after God, and religion is the end result of man's labors, and the evolution of it the success of man's efforts.  Man isn't seeking God, he is running from Him just as Adam did in Eden.  God was seeking for man back in Eden "Where art thou, Adam?"(Genesis3:9)  and was longing after man's leaving.  Man in rebellion does not want God ruling over him.  It is ever, "we will not have this man rule over us."  That is not only the cry on the individual but also of the mob.

    When Jehovah led His chosen people out of slavery in Egypt, He established a temporary dwelling place among them.  He desired to be amongst His people.  It was called the Tabernacle or tent of meeting.  The name itself implies the temporariness of the structure.   It was to be so constructed that they could erect it and disassemble it quickly.  They needed to be able to transport it as they traveled through the desert wilderness.  Permanency was not one its characteristics. All suggested that it merely served for the time being, waiting until a time when it would be set aside for that which "abideth for ever."(John 12:34, I Peter 1:23)

    The Tabernacle was simply a link in the chain, from Abel's sacrifice to the Cross at Calvary, that created an approach for those then present to the presence of Holy God.  Now, out in the desert, God provided His redeemed people with a meeting place to approach Him.  It is of immense importance because it furnishes the true typology for the Person and work of Christ. It sets forth more accurately the death of Christ than did the Temple that superceded it and the sacrifices before it.  The Epistle to the Hebrews adoped it as setting forth the things of Christ.  In all actuality, the Tabernacle sets forth in a clear, concise manner the doctrine of the New Testament.  What, you say?  How can it represent half of the bible?  We shall see how it is done as we study it out.  Partly I would say that the Tabernacle is God's storybook with pictures for babies in Christ.  It also has a message for those of us who are more mature in our walk with our Savior.

    The Tabernacle was constructed of earthly materials.  These materials came from the Israelites which originally had come from the Egyptians when they urged the Israelites to please leave their country.  My friends, the Egyptians were almost bribing the Hebrews to leave!  And of course, it was all according to God's plan to construct a Tabernacle later on.  A conservative estimate of the value of these materials is between one-half to one million dollars.  These were slaves!  You can see the importance of what the Egyptian people gave them before they left Goshen(Exodus 12:35-36).

    We will stop here for today my friends.  Tomorrow we will look at why God asked for the above materials to build the Tabernacle.   Until then, walk in the Word and in the Spirit.


    September 21st, 2007

    My friends, the Israelites were to bring their gifts willingly.  This was a new experience for these slaves who had been forced to do everything each day of their lives by the Egyptians.  God placed no such compulsion upon them to give:  all must be a free-will offering.  No grudging or feelings of necessity could be a part of these offerings, no slave labor could enter into this dwelling place for God, no forced workers could be used to build it either.  God had redeemed these people and they needed to serve Him freely.  God's dwelling place amongst men had to be the fruit of thankfulness.  In review of today's failure in fiving to the Lord biblically, we are led to ask:  How did these people respond to God's request and to the motive in giving?  Here is the simple answer:

    And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make.  And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.  So the people were restrained from bringing(Exodus 36:5-6).

    I hazzard a guess that this is the only recorded time when people of a congregation were explicitly told to stop giving unto the LORD!  We are not commanded to give but this is a time when the LORD commanded them to stop. 

    One more thing I wish to point out and then we shall begin studying the entrance into the outer court of the Tabernacle.  Consider the blueprint, the plans, of the Tabernacle.  Moses did not draw up the plans using his imagination and ask the people for comments.  No committee or board functioned in order to arrive at the measurements/dimensions of the tent.  Here is how the plans came to be:

    And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it(Exodus 25:8-9).

    You see, God gave them each and every detail:  the colors of the fabrics, the type of tent stakes, the amount of gold and silver for each item, the number of boards, the size and shape of items of furniture.  It needed to be exactly God's way in order to please Him since He would be dwelling within it.  The Tabernacle was not man's idea on how things ought to be, but Holy God's arrangement on how things must be for Him to dwell with a lost, sinful, race.  Each thing had to be made precisely a certain way.  The Spirit supervised the actual workers as they crafted each item in order that no errors were made(Exodus 31:1-6).

    Why such emphasis on strictly adhering to these minute details?  God is the only one who can solve the problem of creating a meeting place for Him and man and so His solution to the problem is the only one that will accomplish it.  Strict detail work is not due to overbearing, dogmatism, or selfishness, but simply an outward expression of His love and grace in wanting man to receive that which would bring him to the heart of God when all else had failed.

    And yet as supremely wonderful as this is, there is yet more being implied by God's words in Exodus 25:9.  The scripture implies that the blueprints were taken from another tabernacle elsewhere.  That this dwelling/meeting place was a miniture, a replica, of a Tabernacle in heaven.  By looking at Hebrews 9:9-12 we find what the meaning of the Old Testament Tabernacle was.  Apart from being a dwelling place for God among man it was also a figure of Jesus Christ who was yet to come.  It was a picture of what Christ would do for mankind.  The people and the actions taken by them while within the Tabernacle were pictures of how to live godly lives.  My friends, as lovely and spectacular as that Tabernacle in the desert was it couldn't compare with the real Tabernacle in heaven that we will get to see when we get to heaven!  We will be able to enter in and walk in to the Holy of Holies and be with God the Father!  Amen!

    There are many other things that could be discussed about this aspect but we will cover them in due time as we walk through this tent of meeting and discover new things that affect our daily lives today.  Until then, may the grace of God be with you, and may you experience His peace that surpasses all understanding.


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    Sat, Sep 8th - 8:14PM

    Welcome to your Blog!

    September 8th, 2007

       My hope is to post bible study material here every two days at most.  My goal is to help edify believers everywhere in what God's Word says to us.  He wishes us to be able stewards of His Word, students who can show that they are approved, and to learn how to love each other in order to show to the faithless that we are indeed His children.  I invite your scrutiny, your comments, and your questions.  May God's peace, joy, and love abound in each of your lives.


    Let's begin with a quick study of the man under the tree who met the man on the tree.  Who is this man you ask, who is he that is sitting under the tree?  Why it is none other than the prophet Elijah whom we all view as a pillar, one who stands fearlessly and courageously for the Lord at all times.  However beloved, Elijah's public image may be a touch marred when we stop to study his private and personal life.  Someone has said in the past that "a man is no hero to his servant," which simply means that when anyone knows us too well, it is obvious to them that we are not heroes. 

    There is a time in Elijah's life when he does not look too good.  He seems to exhibit what we probably would call a yellow streak.  He makes a cowardly retreat, and there really seems to be failure in his personal life.  He is not the man we are accustomed to thinking of his biblical character.  Here, in I Kings 19:4-

    But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

    Here is a man who has reached a place in his life where he has no hope, he feels unworthy, and simply wishes to die and end it all.  I think many of us reach such a place in each of our lives.  But if we learn the history leading up to this passage we would know that this man is in a very embarrassing situation!  He is fleeing from a woman!  He has been running away from Jezebel, a very resourceful and dominant woman.  She actually was the king, and Ahab was the queen in that marriage. 

    As we see Elijah across the pages of scripture he was no wilting wallflower; he was not a wimp.  He did not voice popular opinions nor did he appeal to the public.  I tell you plainly, Elijah was a rugged man.  He could be called an extrovert. He stood up against the false prophets of that day; and he stood with the Lord.  He preferred to please God rather than being popular.  He sought out divine approval rather than public applause.  He was not a clown in a street parade or circus, but he certainly was willing to be a fool for God's sake.

    As I stated earlier, Elijah boldly strides out onto the pages of scripture, into the palace of Ahab and announces that there is not going to be any rain except according to his word.  Read with me in I Kings 17:1-

    And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

    I do not know about you beloved, but those are very bold words to utter to any king!  He might have also added, "I'm leaving town, and I'm not giving anyone a forwarding address. You won't be able to contact me, and I'm liable to not utter a word for a year or maybe two. "  He stormed out of the palace, and the nation did not see any rain for more than three years.

    This is how Elijah's life was.  This is the type of man he was.  Rainstorms, chariots of fire, and never a dull moment in his entire life.  He was a man of action.  He accomplished spectacular things, it must at times have been like a circus around him.  And yet, we can detect some ego in him.  He said to God, "I, even I alone am left."  The Lord had seven thousand there who had not bowed their knee to worship Baal, but Elijah thought that he was all alone.  Still, we also can detect some humbleness when he says, "I am no better than my fathers."  He understands that he too is just a sinner in the eyes of holy God.  Some people have asked "What would the church do with Elijah today?"  That is not the right question however.  That question ought to be, "What would Elijah do with the church today, beloved, if he were present?" 

    Read I Kings 17-19 to gain a fuller understanding of this man and his life.  We will continue next time and explore how he is similar to Moses.  Until then, Peace, Grace, and the Love of Christ Jesus be with each of you.

    September 9th, 2007

    Now we pick up Elijah's story once again.  Elijah was a rugged man, a sensitive man, a courageous man, a man with a backbone.  God sent Elijah off to college--His school to which He always sends his men--the desert!  If you stop to consider it, every man in scripture whom God has chosen and trained has been put out on a desert; beginning with Abraham who was taken from the culture and refinement of the city of Ur in Chaldea, and sent to the land of Canaan, which was nothing to boast about.  Then God sent Moses out on the back side of the desert away from Pharsoh's extravagant palace, and He trained him there.  John the Baptist was taken by God, put out into the desert wilderness to prepare him for the tasks soon to be placed upon him as the forerunner of Christ our Lord.  Even our Lord was tested out in the wilderness desert for forty days.  Clearly that is God's method. 

    So, God sent Elijah during that time when there was to be no rain out by the brook Cherith.  God provided him with food and drink there, using ravens to feed him.  Importantly, Elijah had to depend upon God for his provisions.  Water came from the brook, food came from the ravens.  It's a time of extreme drought, nothing is growing.  It was a time of growing close to God, a time to meditate upon God's promises.  A time to also become pragmatic in noting how much lower the water level in the brook was each morning upon waking up.  Depending upon God.  Trusting in God.  Are we that dependent and trusting in God each day of our lives?  Perhaps we ought to be. 

    One thing Elijah learned at Cherith:  his life was no better than that dry brook.  The brook eventually dried up and God took him away from there, but Elijah had completed a semester in God's School of the Desert.  You and I need to learn this lessen, at least if we are going to be used of God, that there is no water of life in us.  We can only be channels through which the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit can flow.  We are that dry brook.  Elijah learned this lesson and so do we, beloved.

    From Cherith God sent Elijah on to the widow of Zarephath and Elijah asked her for something to eat.  She and her son were quite poor and their food had just about run out.  They were down to the very last of their meal and oil.  And what did she say?  In verse 12 of chapter 17 she tells Elijah that she goes to prepare their last meal and then they shall eat it and die!  My friends, that sounds alot like what Elijah himself felt later on!  The prophet of God helps these poor people out at this time since he is doing the will of God.  God had told him that the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil would not empty until the rain began to fall again.  That, my freinds, was almost two years!  The power of God is amazing to witness!  How must those two individuals have felt each and every time that they went to the barrel and found meal, and to the cruse and found oil?  My friends, we are not the bakery of the bread of life; in and of ourselves we do not, cannot, give the bread of life to anyone.  It is only given as it is passed through the hands of Jesus Christ. 

    Then some time later the widow's son died from illness.  She came and accused Elijah of mocking her with her past sins.  The man of God asked for the body of her beloved son, carried him up into the loft where Elijah lived and placed him upon his own bed.  Elijah could not help but look down at that dead body and know that that was what he was, a body of death.  Elijah knew death was his appointment if he followed the normal procedures of life.  No life-giving power existed within Elijah, that was supplied by God through the faith and the personal touch of Elijah. 

    After this Elijah was eventually led by God  back to Obadiah and then king Ahab.  The outcome of this reunion is his confrontation of idolatry and false prophets.  In I Kings 18:21-24 we are told:

    And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?  if the LORD be God, follow him: but Baal, then follow him.  And the people answered him not a word.  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.  Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it one wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under; and call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD:  and the God tha answereth by fire, let him be God.  And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

    Elijah threw down the proverbial glove in challenge!  The prophets of Baal dare not refuse his challenge, they had to accept or else lose respect in the eyes of all of the people.  Imagine what it must have looked and sounded like!  It had to have been a carnival atmosphere all the day long.  And it was all day long, my friends.  They began preparing and then chanting to Baal at dawn and continued until evening without any results.  That is when Elijah began to mock them just a little bit.  The following verses relate how Elijah began to prepare the altar and the bullock for sacrifice to God and then had men come and dump water all over the wood and the altar and the ground not once, but three times!  He stepped back, prayed to Jehovah in heaven, and everyone witnessed holy fire rain down from heaven and consume the altar, the wood, and the bullock.  Elijah surely enjoyed bringing down fire from on high that day, for he then commanded the people to round up all of the prophets of Baal, bring them to the local river, and there Elijah slaughtered all of them.  The prophet of God is on a spiritual high, my friends.  Just as are we all when we do those things that God ordains us to carry out.  But with every mountain top experience of ours there inevitably is a valley on our horizon.

    Next time I will write more about how Elijah ended up under a juniper tree resignedly seeking death from God.  Until then, may you walk in the Lord, and claim His promises as your own.

    September 11th, 2007

    Beloved, Elijah prayed to Almighty God in heaven to bring fire down and light that altar and the sacrificial bullock.  He cast himself completely upon the Lord for he knew that he could not possibly ignite any flames upon that water drenched altar.  Then Jehovah moved in a mighty and marvelous way, and fire rained down from the sky!  It was dramatic, it was sensational, and you can bet Elijah enjoyed every bit of it! 

    But now it is done.  This prophet has slain all of Baal's prophets and has announced that rain is finally going to come.  His utter weariness overtakes him, we can see it in the fact of him sitting down to wait for it.  Adrenaline has been pumping through his veins for the entire time that he began God's confrontation with Baal's servants and while people rounded up all 450 prophets of Baal.  Now is a time for a valley of fatigue.  You and I have been in like circumstances my friends.  We go from elation with our hearts pumping a mile a minute to the exhaustion of total release from that high. 

    Not all is filled with glory for Elijah for Ahab went and told Jezebel all that Elijah had done.  She was not pleased that all of her prophets were slain.  Friends, she shot off a "Western Union" message to Elijah!  A personal messenger carried these words to Elijah saying,

    So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time(I Kings 19:2).

    Jezebel was a very dangerous woman.  If Naboth were still here he would verify that you did not mess with her nor was it smart to cross her since it would mean a horrible death.  She was telling Elijah that she would do to him what he had done to her prophets, slay him with the sword.  We would conclude that Elijah would not be concerned, that he would stand up to this woman, but he did not stand up to her.  It is quite safe to say that he took his eyes off of God.  When you come out of the very presence of God you can go out and accomplish mighty things. But when you take your eyes off of God and begin to focus on yourself or upon things then doubts can, and do creep into our minds.

    Now this man of God most assuredly is weary, very weary.  He has been confronting the prophets of Baal and his backslidden nation and his tank is now on empty.  There is no auxillary tank for him to switch to.  He had not counted on Jezebel seeking his life in consequence to his actions so he did what anyone who is fatigued and emotionally strung out would do.  He may very well have been approaching what we today would call a nervous breakdown .

    And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there(I Kings 19:3).

    Locating this town on a map we see that Elijah ran almost completely out of the country!  Just to drop off his servant no less!  For he was not done running away from Jezebel whom he knew would not stop hunting him down.

    But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested or himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers(I Kings 19:4).

    Someone must have mentioned to Elijah that he was better than his fathers, do not know who but it is quite evident here.  All we do know is that he is saying the opposite now.  He is tired, he has had enough and just wants rest from all of these hassles that are hounding him.  Have you been there, beloved?  Simply worn out from life's labors, trials, and tribulations that seem to find you no matter where you go to hide from them?  Well, you are not alone since Elijah was experiencing the exact same feelings here.  He wished to die.  And tomorrow I will show you how God dealt with this man and his afflictions.  Until then, may God smile upon you and may you walk closer with Him today than you did yesterday.


    September 13th, 2007

    My friends, God is an excellent psychiatrist.  He knows exactly how to deal with us each and every day of our lives.  Notice now what He did for poor Elijah:

    And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat(I Kings 19:5).

    God sent one of His holy angels down from heaven to minister unto His servant who was in severe need.  I tell you beloved, He does the same for you and I to this very day.  God gave this man sleep for that is what he needed most.  When we get discouraged most often it is not due to spiritual wrongness but simply because we are physically worn out.  I believe that today Satan uses this ploy very effectively in our culture.  He gets us caught up in our hectic lifestyles and before we notice it we are exhausted and become despondent, despairing, distraught, and depressed.  The four D's, so to speak.  We are doing more than we ought to be doing. 

    More later today my friends.  May God richly bless each of you.


    September 14th, 2007

    Beloved, in our current culture I believe that as we all are uner pressure, when most of us are doing more than we ought to  do, that we do come to this place under the juniper tree.  It is not because we lack spirituality; it is due to us being overwrought and overtired.

    Perhaps you just want to point your finger, waggle it, it Elijah and say, " Boy you are a sissy, a coward--fleeing from that woman.  You are the guy who stood down 450 prophets of Baal and slaughtered them.  You're the one talking about standing before God, and look at you!  What a wimp, a baby, lying here asking God to kill you."

    But you see, God didn't criticize him.  God put him to sleep.  The Great Physician in essence said, "You need rest, Elijah."  After getting some solid sleep God woke him and fed him.  Rest and nutrition was what Elijah needed.  God fed him highly nutritious food for we can see what happened to Elijah later on:

    And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head.  And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again(I Kings 19:6).

    God put him back to sleep for the man needed more rest.  God fed him to restore his strength:

    And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee(I Kings 19:7).

    See, God is aware that Elijah's journey is too great for him to accomplish under his own power.  Beloved, the journey is too great for all of us, we cannot reach its end doing it our way.  We need the Lord Jesus Christ to come into our lives, our hearts, with the bread of life and the living water so that we will no longer hunger nor thirst.

    Just as Elijah needed rest so do we, friends.  So we need to know something concerning that redemption rest that God freely gives to those who will trust Christ.  You cease from your own work, cease from your anxiety, and rest/remain in Him, knowing confidently that He has done everything for you already.  Just as Naomi said to Ruth: "Now that you have let Boaz know that you want him as your kinsman-redeemer, you can just sit in that rocking chair and wait.  The man will not be in rest until he has done everything for you."(Ruth 3:18)  Isn't that what Christ has done for each of us?  Isn't that what he is to each of us, a kinsman-redeemer?  Oh beloved, He did not rest until our redemption was finished upon the Cross at Calvary!  Christ finished His work and when He ascended back into heaven He sat down at God's right hand because He had finished redemption to give to you.  Today He invites each of us to enter into His rest:

    There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his(Hebrews 4:9-10).

    My friends, that is the rest that a tired heart today really needs, and you can find it only in Christ.  No psychiatrist, no doctor, no therapist, can offer it to you with a 100% guaratee of it working.  One psychiatrist once was asked about the guilt complex.  He replied, "You know, that is the one thing we cannot get rid of.  We can shift it to something else and we can spread it around, but we cannot get rid of the guilt complex."

    Only Christ can lift our burden of sin.  He says to us, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavyladen, and I will give ye rest."  Notice that He does not say "I might give you rest", or "I will give rest to only some."  Christ will give rest to all who come to trust Him.  Isn't that a mighty promise?  Isn't that a comfort to our troubled hearts?  He takes away our burden of sin and guilt complex.  Elijah needed this release and God gave it to him.  Now notice what takes place:

    And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God(I Kings 19:8)

    Now that was some meal!  He was able to travel for forty days and nights without another meal!  What was the purpose of him going to Horeb?  Why, he needed more schooling, he needed to do some post-graduate work.  God wished to give him his degree in the Backside of the Desert, as Dr. McGee used to say.  It comes after a great deal of training.

    And he [Elijah] came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?(I Kings 19:9).

    Elijah had said he wanted to die, and he is still running away from Jezebel. He has not only left the juniper tree, he has gone way down to Horeb.  Perhaps he is headed to Egypt or on into Africa to get away from Jezebel.  Have you ever attempted to outrun your problems?  We shall see what happens next with this man of God when we meet here next time.  Until then, rest in God's care and rely upon His wisdm to see you through your daily problems in life.


    September 15th, 2007

    Now my friends, we need to listen closely to this prophet cry.  Here he is in a cave, hiding from Jezebel when the Lord finds him and plainly wants Elijah to tell Him why he is in that cave.

    And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away(I Kings 19:10).

    Elijah is laying it right out there friends.  He is telling God something that He already knows.  We can wonder, of course, why Elijah had not caught wind of the 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal or the 100 prophets who had been hidden in a cave.  Perhaps he did not know of their existance because they all had gone underground.  Whether they were cowards or God was providentially protecting them we do not know.  All we do know is that they were not standing shoulder to shoulder with Elijah.

    In our culture we might say that Elijah had developed "the Elijah complex," which is a very common danger to all believers today.  If we do not expose ourselves to positive reinforcement from other believers we can begin to feel like saying, "God, I am the only one left in this region who is standing in the breach for you!  Only I am out in the hedgerow plugging up the hole to prevent thieves from plundering my family and loved ones.  Only I am on the ramparts looking for the enemy, only I am watching."  But that is untrue.  Many, many saints exist all over who are faithful to the Lord.

    So God gives Elijah his doctoral degree.  God speaks to him and demonstrates His presence:

    And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.  And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD..."(I Kings 19:11-12).

    Now Elijah could appreciate this show of power.  He was into these demonstrations of God's might.  But we notice that God was not in the midst of all of this noise and tumult.  Today we witness alot of noise and tumult going on but it does not always involve God.  After the wind Elijah experienced an earthquake and a fire.  Likewise, the Lord was not in either of those:

    But the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire, a still small voice.

    Elijah was a man of action and involved in spectacular demonstrations of God's might power.  He was not prepared to hear God in this small still voice that came to him.    It is a lesson all of us need to learn.  Not every ministry has to be spectacular and flashy before God involves Himself in it.  Looking at the various large movements just in America today, I am thoroughly convinced that God is not involved in all of them.  Paul said:

    For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise..."(I Corinthians 1:26-27).

    God takes people like D. L. Moody, without any training, and enables them to reach out and touch multitudes of hurting, lost souls.  God also has taken a baseball player by the name of Billy Sunday and used him to great purpose.  Why doesn't God go and use the seminary students?  I think it may be because they know too much!  They fall victim to the snare of pride in how much they do know.  They can much more easily begin to think that they are something, when in reality they are nothing at all.  Billy Graham was not a seminary graduate, did you know that?  As great a ministry as his and no training formally from any school of theology!  Why does God persist in doing this?  Look no further than verses 27-29 of I Corinthians chapter one:

    God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."

    Elijah needed to learn this lesson.  A man of action.  A doer of great things.  He was a man of tremendous ability, but he needed to learn that God does not use that.  But God can and will use things that do not even exist.

    You cannot say that because you have no ability nor talent that God is not using you.  The only reason that He may not be using you is that you are not willing to become nothing in His sight.  Are you willing to be a fool?  Are you willing to be weak?  God uses both of those things to confound the world.  Elijah had to learn this and so do we my friends. 


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. I ... more

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